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The Fascinating Story of Chris Resop

Chris Resop knew that last night was going to be his last in Triple-A. Signed to a minor league contract by the Braves this spring, his agent included an unusual out clause in the deal; if he is not in the major leagues by June 15th, he is free to contact other major league clubs and ask for a job. If any of them are willing to put him on the major league roster, the Braves surrender his rights. If multiple teams are willing to roster him, then the Braves will select where he goes. In some ways, it’s like Resop has to be put through waivers on Tuesday.

Given how well he’s pitched for Gwinnett and the velocity on his fastball, it was a near certainty that he would find a team that would be more than happy to give him a shot next week. However, he erased any doubts last night, and may have created enough demand to allow the Braves to trade him for something of value before next week rolls around.
His performance last night – 9 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts. The one blemish on his otherwise perfect evening was promptly doubled off on the next play, allowing Resop to face the minimum in his complete game shutout. He faced 27 hitters and recorded 27 outs. Hard to do much better than that.

So now, an interesting question arises – what’s the market value for a 27-year-old with a good arm who is pitching well in Triple-A but has little history of success, and is in his first year as a starting pitcher? Originally drafted as an outfielder by the Marlins in 2001, he was converted to the bullpen in 2003, and made his way to the majors as a power reliever. The last few years have brought elbow surgery and some not-overly-impressive time with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. There were few things less expected than Resop dominating as a starting pitcher, but dominate he has.

Posting 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings while simultaneously running a GB% of nearly 50 percent – those are the kinds of numbers that open eyes. The walks are a little high at 3.3 BB/9, and the big platoon splits should give us pause before we project him for stardom, but Resop has shown enough to be worth a flyer for a team that can afford to gamble on the 5th starter job.

In all likelihood, more than one team will “claim” Resop next Tuesday, so the Braves will have some bargaining power to trade him before then. They could theoretically use him in relief, displacing Jesse Chavez, but the rest of their bullpen has been so good that he wouldn’t log many important innings and would generally not have much of an impact. But regardless of what Atlanta decides to do, Resop will certainly be in the majors next Tuesday. He’s earned his shot.